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Mrs. C. I never knew him such an early bird. I made sure he was safe in bed for a couple of hours yet. But I do trust, Walter, you have had enough of this fooling, and are prepared to act like a rational man and a gentleman.
Col. G. On the contrary, Clara, with my usual obstinacy, I am more determined than ever that my boy shall not know me, until, as I told you, I have rendered him such service as may prove me not altogether unworthy to be his father. Twenty years of neglect will be hard to surmount.
Mrs. C. But mere menial service cannot discharge the least portion of your obligations. As his father alone can you really serve him.
Col. G. You persist in misunderstanding me. This is not the service I mean.
I scorn the fancy. This is only the means, as I told you plainly before, of finding out how I may serve him—of learning what he really needs
-or most desires. If I fail in discovering how to recommend myself to him, I shall go back to India, and content myself with leaving him a tolerable fortune.
Mrs. C. How ever a hair-brained fellow like you, Walter, could have made such a soldier !—Why don't you tell your boy you love him, and have done with it?
Col. G. I will, as soon as I have proof to back the assertion.
Mrs. C. I tell you it is rank pride.
Col. G. It may be pride, sister ; but it is the pride of a repentant thief who puts off his confession until he has the money in his hand to prove the genuineness of his
Mrs. C. It never was of any use to argue Walter; you
; you know that, or at least I know it. So I give up.-I trust you have got over your prejudice against his profession. It is not my fault.
Col. G. In truth, I had forgotten the pro
fession—as you call it-in watching the professor.
Mrs. C. And has it not once occurred to you to ask how he may take such watching ?
Col. G. By the time he is aware of it, he will be ready to understand it.
Mrs. C. But suppose he should discover you before you have thus established your position ?
Col. G. I must run the risk.
Mrs. C. Suppose then you should thus find out something he would not have you know?
Col. G. (hurriedly). Do you imagine his servant might know a thing he would hide from his father ?
Mrs. C. I do not, Walter. I can trust him. But he might well resent the espionage of even his father. You cannot get rid of the vile look of the thing.
Col. G. Again I say, my boy shall be my judge, and my love shall be my plea. In any
case I shall have to ask his forgiveness. But
straight to the Psyche.
Ger. Not in the least : I work all night sometimes.--You can go. (Col. G. lingers, with a searching gaze at the Psyche.)—I don't want anything.
Col. G. Pardon me, sir, but I am sure you are ill.
You've done no work since last night.
Ger. (with displeasure). I am quite well, and wish to be alone.
Col. G. Mayn't I go and fetch a doctor, sir? It is better to take things in time.
Ger. You are troublesome. (Exit Col. G.)
-What can the fellow mean? He looked at me so strangely too! He's officious--that's all, I dare say. A good sort of man, I do think! William !-What is it in the man's face ?--(Enter Col. G.) Is the breakfast ready?
Col. G. Quite ready, sir.
Ger. I'm sorry I spoke to you so hastily. The fact is
Col. G. Don't mention it, sir. Speak you will to me; I shan't mind it. When there's anything on a man's conscience--I-I -I mean on a man's mind
Ger. What do you mean?
Col. G. I mean, when there is anything there, he can't well help his temper, sir.
Ger. I don't understand you; but, anyhow, you-go too far, William.
Col. G. I beg your pardon, sir : I forgot myself. I do humbly beg your pardon. Shall I make some fresh coffee, sir? It's not cold-only it's stood too long.